Initially, the consortium comprised only its founders, namely France and Germany, along with the leading companies Dassault Aviation (leading the manned aircraft program) and Airbus Defense & Space. Subsequently, Spain joined the program.
Je me réjouis que la 🇩🇪, 🇫🇷 & 🇪🇸 accueillent la 🇧🇪en tant qu’observateur au programme #SCAF. En rejoignant ce projet 🇪🇺, nous permettons à nos entreprises de rester à la pointe de l’innovation tout en ayant un impact positif sur l’emploi et nous renforçons l’Europe de la Défense! pic.twitter.com/Qsufbaz5uD
— Ludivine Dedonder (@DedonderLudivin) June 19, 2023
The Belgians are entering the FCAS/SCAF programme as observers, and the cooperation will involve the exchange of technical information related to the programme.
Airbus commends the Belgian decision as a step towards strengthening the independence of the European aerospace and military industries.
On the other hand, the Belgian Minister of Defence, Ludivine Dedonder, did not hide the fact that her country is primarily concerned with the involvement of Belgian companies in the high-tech programme. This will enable them to maintain innovation and competitiveness.
Currently, the exact role of the Belgian partners is yet to be “defined”, but contracts for industrial phases 1B and phase 2 have already been signed with entities from the first three countries of the consortium.
Only time will tell whether it will be possible to collaborate with Brussels and its industrialists on certain aspects of the project (it is worth noting that Belgium has a strong aviation industry).
The FCAS systems, in which manned combat aircraft will play a significant role but not the sole element, are expected to be operational in European armed forces by around 2035.